The inner journey
Somewhere inside all of us is a longing for greater wholeness, freedom and fulfillment.
And many of us now recognise that there is an inner journey that we may need to make if we are to discover and develop these qualities within ourselves.
We usually find ourselves starting on this journey because of our struggles and our suffering, since most of us experience challenging, confusing or painful times at points in our lives. While these times can be difficult, they are helpful if they set us on the road to change and growth.
The journey is an inner journey because it is a uniquely personal exploration, a voyage of discovery that each of us can make into our own particular life and circumstances, and into our own individuality and nature.
This journey has no particular destination. Instead, what changes is our relationship to ourselves, to our life, and to others. Trust, curiosity & openness deepen. Aliveness returns.
Once we start out, we begin to discover that this is a journey of self-awareness, of healing and transformation, and, eventually, of greater wisdom and maturity, acceptance and peace.
What happens on the inner journey?
Real change happens, slowly but surely.
Unfashionable qualities develop, slowly but surely: patience and self-reflection, sensitivity and cooperation, presence of mind, and respect for others, for example.
All our deepest and most intimate and personal concerns can be addressed and explored - about friendships or relationships, health or illness, getting old or being young, security and work, love and intimacy, sex and sexuality, and much more.
We can allow hurts and wounds from any stage of life, which may have been buried inside us for too long, to return to consciousness for healing, transformation and reintegration.
Gradually, we begin to feel more relaxed and confident, more open and trusting of life, and more free simply to be who and what we really are.
And as we grow and open, so does the quality of our life and our relationships. Life itself becomes an increasingly enjoyable, mysterious and meaningful voyage of discovery, and not only a source of struggle, anxiety or discontent.
Eight facets of the inner journey
I think of my work as helping with eight different aspects or facets of the journey through life, all of which are important, and each of which may need some care and attention at points in our lives.
As we travel deeper into ourselves, making our own journey, we discover that there are many layers and many levels to our heart and mind, body and soul.
The chances are, as we make our way through life, that we will meet these layers and levels within ourselves, and need to work on these eight facets, perhaps many times over.
THE EIGHT FACETS
1) Navigating The Rapids: Challenges, crises, or life transitions can be difficult. We may want help at these times because these transitions push at our limitations and edges, leaving us strained or overwhelmed. Psychotherapy can help you to navigate the rapids with more self-awareness and presence of mind.
2) This Being Human: Life presents us all with many concerns, issues & needs. Therapeutic enquiry can help us to address our own personal & particular concerns. We can explore friendships and relationships; health and illness; ageing or being young; mortality or vitality; work, money and career; love and intimacy; sex and sexuality; and anything else personally significant.
3) Strengthening Our Self: Many of us carry old hurts & wounds, as well as beliefs, self-images, and a harsh inner critic, that seriously hamper our freedom and trust, and that can leave us with anxiety, depression or anger. Here, healing is important, so that we can feel confidence, perhaps for the first time, in ourselves and our impulses, in our strength of being and our value.
4) Healing Trauma: Our sensitivity and subtle awareness make human beings uniquely vulnerable to trauma, particularly in our earliest years. Trauma can hamper or even stop our growth and development in any area of our life. Trauma, the deepest, most painful wounding, carefully sealed away and hidden from ourselves, can be triggered and surface again, but this can become a precious opportunity for healing and resolution. Please see here for my recommended reading on this important subject.
5) Knowing Our Self: Our personality is made up of our unique fixed and conditioned patterns of emotion, behaviour, coping strategies, bodily tensions, and ideas and beliefs about ourselves and others. Looking with the eyes of kindness, we can now see that we had no choice but to be shaped in these ways in our earliest years. Now, however, we can bring subtle awareness to the inner workings of our personality, so bringing greater freedom and authenticity.
6) From Self To Soul: As we discover that our personality, our self, is not really us, we may wonder, "Who or what am I then, really?" With support, we can allow this self, made of our fixed patterns and strategies, to soften and relax. We can begin to open up and experience spaciousness, rather than remaining closed, tight or defended. This spaciousness allows both our wounds and also our deepest healing, our core or essence, to emerge from within.
7) Soul, Being & Source: As our contracted personality patterns soften, and we become more in touch with awareness and authentic presence, we may start to wonder, "Is Reality perhaps supportive and benign, despite appearances?" As we explore this profound longing, we may discover a wider, deeper holding and support, called by some Being and Source.
8) Living Our Everyday Wisdom: At every stage of the journey, as we return to our ordinary everyday lives, it takes practice, intention, & commitment to stay present and aware, and to start living by all the qualities that we discover on our inner journey. This is the stage of grounding and integrating our development into our everyday lives.